Digging the Archives

Notes  and jottings from those that have explored the Archives to those that might want to

The Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group is committed to continuing research into the history of the Welsh Highland Railway and its predecessors, with the results of its researches appearing in the Group’s quarterly journal.

The “standard historical works” published about the railway contain much diligent research and give an excellent insight into its history and that of its predecessors. Nevertheless, further details do continue to come to light and it is clear that, even now, much detail still remains to be extracted from various archival collections, both to amplify the story and to untangle some of the mysteries that  remain.

Knowing where to start, and where to look when researching railway history can sometimes be daunting. To assist and encourage new researchers, Richard Maund has produced listings of material relating specifically to the railway and its predecessors which is known to exist in some of the publicly accessible archives – to see the listings follow this link

Richard Maund has set up a link which gives access to the transcript of the 1922 Contract and the accompanying plans (it complements the McAlpine article  published in Issue 55 of Welsh Highland Heritage).  A transcript of the 1923 Working Instructions is available and also the 1934 Lease. 

Chronology – Richard Maund has prepared tables on the Chronology of the Stations and Operations of the WHR

There is a general history of the line, to be found here. This is just a brief summary, and you are further interested then, there are a number of online and printed resources available.

Due to the continuing link with the Ffestiniog Railway,  a lot of material is recorded with the FR  Heritage Group, and is available online, via its Wiki.  There is a list of references contained here which relate to additional information.

Photographs:  the Group has built up a large collection of archive photographs of the  WHR.  Many of them are accessible online at the  F&WHR Online Photo Archive

Important note:

Research at Gwynedd Archives

Members will be aware that Professor Pat  Layzell-Ward has compiled a catalogue of the Festiniog Railway’s deposit (XD/97) at Gwynedd Archives, Caernarfon, and that this deposit – which also contains Welsh Highland material – has now become available for inspection. This is in addition to pre-existing material there which is listed here

In order to facilitate our record keeping and to help future historians may we request that members who take advantage of this new facility advise  Derek Lystor (email :  of the reference number and title of any material which they access.

We will keep a record of this here so that researchers can quickly identify the location of documents which may be helpful to their work.

WHR Documents deposited at Gwynedd Archives

A large number of  WHR documents were deposited in the Gwynedd Archives in 2015. They are to be found in the XD117 WHRHG collection. A full listing is available here